TWO films promoting the virtues of farmers and the agriculture industry are in post-production and are scheduled for release in 2014.
Both films are said to give viewers a first-hand glimpse into the lives of farmers and ranchers, including their passion for a way of life that is often passed down from one generation to the next.
Directed by award-winning filmmakers, both documentaries have drawn a great deal of interest from an industry often seen as gun-shy due to frequently negative portrayals online and in the media.
Backed by the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), Academy Award winner James Moll is slated to release his documentary "Farmland" next spring. Unveiling the film's trailer online last month, Moll said the film will follow six young farmers located in various regions of the U.S.
"This film isn't just about what it's like to be a farmer; it's about a way of life," Moll said. "While making 'Farmland,' I found myself immersed in a community of some of the most hard working, passionate people I've ever met."
Moll spent five months meeting farmers and ranchers before selecting the six who are featured in the film. They include a Texas cattle rancher, a Georgia chicken producer, a Nebraska grain farmer, a California produce grower, a Pennsylvania vegetable farmer and a Minnesota hog farmer.
The filmmaker said he researched agriculture extensively in order to select young people from different farming and ranching production methods, and the film's subjects represent various types of crops and livestock, as well as geographic diversity. "Farmland" is scheduled to premiere in Los Angeles, Cal., and New York, N.Y., in late March 2014.
A second film due for release in March is more tightly focused, centering on the specific efforts of wheat farmers across the U.S. "The Great American Wheat Harvest," also in post-production under the direction of Maryland filmmaker Conrad Weaver, is a documentary that tells the story of the custom harvesters who travel from Texas to the Canadian border each summer harvesting U.S. wheat.
Weaver's project is three years in the making and was underwritten by agricultural heavyweights such as John Deere and Case IH, as well as smaller businesses and wheat industry organizations. Film crews followed three custom harvesters from picking up one outfit's new combine in Moline, Ill., last January through the completion of their harvest run near Billings, Mont.
"Conrad logged more than 70,000 air and 30,000 driving miles in 2013 alone, capturing the harvest from Texas to North Dakota and across the U.S. border into Canada," said film spokesman Jody Lamp.
The film is scheduled to premiere in conjunction with National Ag Day activities next March in Washington, D.C.